Fireworks

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Doogie White & La Paz - 'Granite' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/03/02/a9/2366_doogiewhitelapazgranite_1340016759.jpg Hot

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Good songs, strong performances and lovely touches of humour.

Somewhere in the darkest recesses of my loft resides a box of cassettes amongst which lurk demos from La Paz dating back to their origins in the late 80’s. During that time they forged a strong reputation among the Melodic Rock cognoscenti but couldn’t secure the all important record deal; probably because they weren’t American and didn’t look like Bon Jovi. On the evidence of this album that represents something of a travesty.

La Paz was Doogie White’s first real band, subsequently he went on to bigger things (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow for one) and is currently on a hot streak with him taking on front man duties with Tank, his wonderful solo album (“As Yet Untitled” – see interview/review in Issue 49) and now the resurrection of La Paz, albeit with the enterprise being marketed under his name for obvious reasons. Resurrection may be stretching a point because they have been active doing gigs in recent years, generally raising funds for a very laudable charity as described by Doogie in the aforementioned interview. What comes across to me is that the band (Chic McSherry – guitars, Andy Mason – keyboards, Alex Carmichael – bass and Paul McManus – drums) had huge fun recording these songs and this attitude shines through in the music.

From the opening strains of ‘Too Good to Lose’ I got the feeling that I was going to enjoy this album as the riff had me reaching for the air guitar and the beat got my head nodding from the outset. When I listen to new albums in this genre I have a question in my head, would this be appreciated by the audience at Firefest? There’s little doubt in my mind that with this material La Paz would sit very comfortably on the bill of that august event and that the crowd would lap it up.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Of the nine tracks on offer five are contemporary recordings of songs that appeared on those 80’s demos each one being given a fresh and dynamic production by Ralph Munkes, who also mixed the album.

I do have one minor criticism and that’s that some songs are lyrically too repetitive with ‘This Boy’ and ‘Young and Restless’ being particular guilty examples. Both are great songs until the ideas run out and the chorus is sung again and again. That aside there is plenty to enjoy with virtually every song having a tremendous riff, strong melody and tuneful solos. At various times I’m reminded of Rainbow, Thunder and Whitesnake and on the power ballad, ‘Amy’ Doogie has a Billy Joel vibe to his delivery. ‘What Do You Say?’ and ‘Still in Love’ sit more in AOR territory with the former having a particularly good guitar solo from McSherry. Elsewhere Mason delivers some fine Hammond organ motifs and bursts of splendid synth.

This is a feelgood album which may not set any benchmarks for innovation but delivers good songs, strong performances and lovely touches of humour.

Gary Marshall

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